It's Sunday, so the news is light. But, here are 5 stories to read (and watch) to stay informed and remain on top of the news this Sunday afternoon:
(1) A U.S. soldier in Afghanistan has gone on a shooting rampage, killing as many as 16 Afghan civilians in two neighboring Afghan villages. Nine children and three women are among the dead. According to a government representative for southern Afghanistan, a U.S. service member stationed in southern Kandahar walked off the base around 3 a.m., entered three homes, and started shooting. He was arrested upon returning to base. NATO officials apologized after the shootings, and the White House issued a statement on Sundy, saying, "We are deeply concerned by the initial reports of this incident, and are monitoring the situation closely." The motivation for the killing is unknown.
(2) Newt Gingrich has releaseda new short film this morning in a bid to bolster his chances in this week's southern primaries. The 16-minute movie traces Gingrich's life from his small town beginnings in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania to his rise as Speaker of the House and his bid for the 2012 nomination. It also features interviews with Gingrich's wife and family. Here's the video:
(3) Labor unions are rethinking their role in U.S. politics. The influential AFL-CIO is likely to endorse President Barack Obama for reelection, but many unions are no longer writing large checks to the Democratic Party and its candidates. "Concluding they need to be more independent of the Democratic Party, many unions are increasingly financing their own efforts instead of writing large checks to candidates and the party." Labor political action committees gave federal Democratic candidates and committees $21 million last year, a drop of 20% from the 2008 election, according to data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
(4) Last night marked the debut of HBO's political docudrama 'Game Change,' a two-hour film offerig an inside account of the 2008 McCain/Palin presidential race. Read my review of the film and its major take-away lessons for Mitt Romney here. When asked about the authenticity and accuracy of the film, Sen. John McCain said it was nothing but a hack job, drawn from inaccurate sources. Sarah Palin was interviewed in January about the accuracy of the book on which the film was based ("Game Change," by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann). Here's what she had to say:
(5) Can federal problems be tackled Silicon Valley-style? Todd Park, the chief technology officer at the Department of Health and Human Services, told a crowd at SXSW (this weekend's tech conference in Austin, TX) that "Not only is it possible to do lean startup in federal government, but it's the most effective way to drive change in the federal government." Park will soon replace Aneesh Chopra as the next federal CTO. He told the crowd, “there’s incredible raw material (in the government)” that can be put to use “to get stuff done that’s good for the American people. There are a bunch of kickass innovators there. Our job as leaders is to find those innovators and release their mojo — lean startup-style — to serve the American people better.”
Extra: Photo of the Day — Courtesy of Mark Kogan, the cherry blossoms have already arrived in Washington, DC.
Photo Credit: The U.S. Army